SoKor President Urges Pyongyang to Join International Community

Posted September 21st, 2011 at 2:06 pm (UTC-5)
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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says he hopes for peace and prosperity in North Korea, and says that goal will be advanced as Pyongyang becomes “a responsible member of the international community.”

Mr. Lee's comments came Wednesday in an address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. He said South Korea will lead international efforts to ensure improved conditions in the North, when Pyongyang chooses “the path to mutual benefit and common prosperity.” Tuesday, the South Korean leader again urged the North to abandon its rogue nuclear weapons programs, calling denuclearization the first step toward the eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula.

Hours ahead of Mr. Lee's U.N. address, nuclear negotiators from the two Koreas met in the Chinese capital for their second round of talks in two months, to discuss terms for resuming six-party talks on dismantling the North's nuclear programs.

North Korea, which walked away from the talks in 2009, has been pressing, with China's backing, for the talks to be re-started without conditions.

South Korea is reported seeking a promise that Pyongyang will meet the South's conditions for restarting the talks. Both South Korea and the United States have insisted that Pyongyang show it is serious by fulfilling past commitments to disarm.

Japan and Russia round out the six nations involved in the talks, which would offer North Korea economic and diplomatic benefits in exchange for dismantling its nuclear programs.

Russia announced after a recent summit in Siberia that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has offered to impose a moratorium on the nuclear programs if the talks resume.

However, U.S. and South Korean officials said the offer was inadequate. Among other things, they want a halt to a uranium enrichment program revealed by North Korea last year.